Gliding action

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The term 'gliding action' is used to describe the way the foreskin moves during sexual intercourse. This mechanism was described by Lakshamanan & Prakash (1980), stating that "[t]he outer layer of the prepuce in common with the skin of the shaft of the penis glides freely in a to and fro fashion..."[1] Several people have argued that the gliding movement of the foreskin is important during sexual intercourse. Warren & Bigelow (1994) state that gliding action would help to reduce the effects of vaginal dryness and that restoration of the gliding action is an important advantage of foreskin restoration.[2] O'Hara (2002) describes the gliding action, stating that it reduces friction during sexual intercourse, and suggesting that it adds "immeasurably to the comfort and pleasure of both parties".[3] Taylor (2000) suggests that the gliding action, where it occurs, may stimulate the nerves of the ridged band,[4] and speculates (2003) that the stretching of the frenulum by the rearward gliding action during penetration triggers ejaculation.[5] It is argued that removal of the foreskin results in a thickening of the glans because of chafing and abrasion from clothing, leading to loss of sensation. Removal of the foreskin can lead to trauma of the penis (friction irritation) during masturbation due to the loss of the gliding action of the foreskin and greater friction, requiring the need of artificial lubrication. During sex, the loss of gliding action is also thought to cause pain, dryness and trauma of the vagina.[2] The trauma and abrasions of the vagina can lead to easier entry of sexually transmitted diseases.[6] One study showed that the loss of the foreskin resulted in decreased masturbatory pleasure and sexual enjoyment.[7]



[1]Educational video] showing the frenulum and motion of the foreskin, by Jim Tidwell, posted with kind permission.

References

  1. Lakshmanan S; Prakash S (1980). "Human prepuce: some aspects of structure and function". Indian Journal of Surgery 44: 134–137. "The outer layer of the prepuce in common with the skin of the shaft of the penis glides freely in a to and fro fashion and has to be delicate and thin, as was observed in this study. [...] The inner lining of the projecting tubular part has the structure of the outer layer and adds to the thin gliding skin when retracted.". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Warren, J; Bigelow J (September–October 1994). "The case against circumcision". Br J Sex Med: 6–8. 
  3. O'Hara K (2002). Sex as Nature Intended It: The Most Important Thing You Need to Know about Making Love, but No One Could Tell You Until Now. Turning Point Publications. p. 72. "During intercourse, the natural penis shaft actually glides within its own shaft skin covering. This minimizes friction to the vaginal walls and opening, and to the shaft skin itself, adding immeasurably to the comfort and pleasure of both parties.
    Friction is not entirely eliminated during natural intercourse but it is largely eliminated. Friction can take place in the lower vagina, but only if the man uses a stroke that exceeds the (forward and backward) gliding range of the shaft's extra skin. And in such a case, there will be friction only to the extent that the shaft exceeded its extra skin, which is uncommon since the natural penis has a propensity for short strokes. Primarily, it is the penis head that makes frictional contact with the vaginal walls, usually in the upper vagina where there is ample lubrication. [...] The gliding principle of natural intercourse is a two-way street—the vagina glides on the shaft skin while the shaft skin massages the penis shaft as it glides over it."
     
  4. Taylor, J (2000). "Back and Forth". Pediatrics News 34 (10): 50. 
  5. Taylor JR (December 2003). "Evidence sketchy on circumcision and cervical cancer link". Can Fam Physician 49: 1592. PMID 14708921. PMC 2214164. http://www.cfp.ca/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=14708921. 
  6. Vern L. Bullough; Bonnie Bullough (14 January 2014). Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 120–. ISBN 978-1-135-82502-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=-cqlAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA120. 
  7. Kim; Pang (March 2007). "The effect of male circumcision on sexuality". BJU Int 99 (3): 619–622. doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2006.06646.x. PMID 17155977. http://www.mgmbill.org/kimpangstudy.pdf. Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
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